Rio Golf Course finally breaks ground

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Six months after the Rio Olympics golf course was scheduled to break ground – before a land dispute halted the project – designer Gil Hanse and crew are down in Brazil Tuesday morning prepping to finally begin construction on the project.

Hanse’s team is onsite to clear non-native vegetation by hand, according to Golf Week. Then they’ll clear the lines and move dirt to shape the course before planting some Zeon Zoysia – chosen grass of the Olympics – and watching it grow over the fairways, tees, and rough.

So long as there are no more delays, Hanse’s group believes the course could be ready in as few as 18 months, and could host a pro tournament in August 2015 to give the world’s top competitors a taste of the links style course before they return for the Olympics the following year.

The 240-acre project will cost about $30 million overall and live about three miles from the Olympic Park when golf returns to the Olympics for the first time since the 1904 St. Louis Games.

The IOC offered a peek of at the course design to its Twitter followers last week which you can see here.

Nathan Chen holds off Yuzuru Hanyu to win first Grand Prix

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U.S. champion Nathan Chen opened the Grand Prix season by beating Olympic gold-medal favorite Yuzuru Hanyu.

Chen, 18, held off Hanyu at Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, totaling 293.79 points to win by 3.02 over the Japanese megastar. Full scores are here.

Chen landed four quadruple jumps in a strong but imperfect free skate for his first Grand Prix title in his second senior international season.

Hanyu outscored Chen in the free skate, but the American benefited from his 5.69-point lead from Friday’s short program.

Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and world champion, has never won his opening Grand Prix start in eight tries.

He did three quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate rather than the planned five, but did not fall as he did in the short program.

Chen has now outscored Hanyu in three of their last four head-to-head events dating to February.

The Rostelecom Cup free dance and pairs and women’s free skates are later Saturday.

A full Rostelecom Cup broadcast schedule is here.

The Grand Prix season continues next weekend with Skate Canada, headlined by three-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner and three-time world champion Patrick Chan.

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Olympic ski cross champion suffers serious knee injury

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Canadian Marielle Thompson, the reigning Olympic and World Cup ski cross champion, ruptured an ACL and MCL in a training crash in Switzerland.

Alpine Canada did not say when the accident happened or what Thompson’s chances are of returning to defend her Olympic title in PyeongChang.

Thompson flew from Switzerland to Vancouver for an MRI that confirmed the injury.

“I’ll be making a plan with my team moving forward and when the time is right getting back on the ski cross course stronger than ever,” Thompson said in a press release.

Thompson, 25, tore a meniscus in January 2015 and returned to competition 11 months later. She won seven of the 13 World Cup races last season.

Other Olympic medal contenders include Swede Sandra Näslund and Swiss Fanny Smith.

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